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The difference between KDE and Gnome depends on your viewpoint. Personally I don't find there is that much difference between them. They both have taskbars which can be tweaked, they both have their own suite of apps (konqueror/nautilus, etc) and they're both very configurable. KDE uses the QT libraries and Gnome uses the GTK libraries. So long as you install the both sets of libraries, you can run KDE apps in Gnome, and vice-versa. If I were you I would try both environments and find one that fits, and then find apps (from either environment) that suit the way you work.
Personally, I like KDE better since I am able to adjust the color scheme to my liking, whereas I haven't found the widget to do that under Gnome. I just like the KDE look & feel better. Pick what you want, you may prefer the way Gnome feels.
I used GNOME on my Red Hat install, it was decent. Then I installed Slackware and tried Fluxbox(looks nice but doesnt have much to offer imo). Now I'm using KDE and am liking it the best. KDE and GNOME both have a lot of apps. But overall I prefer the interface of KDE thus far.
Distribution: CentOS 3.3-4, OpenBSD 3.3, Fedora Core 4, Ubuntu, Novell Open Enterprise Server
I personally use OpenBox but it is not a very friendly window manager from a new Linux users viewpoint.
In the age old KDE vs Gnome debate, I think the newest version of KDE runs a little snappier and has more eyecandy than Gnome. It all depends on your personal likings. I like the KDE Desktop with the Gnome filemanager (Nautilus) Try them both out and decide for yourself. Open source is all about freedom of choice.
I think what Pankrat was trying to say there (dispite his typo), is true, KDE and Gnome apps both run under each other's window manager. Picking your window manager is like picking your flavor of Linux, or what car you drive, or what bycicle. You pick one and go with it.